Bitter thorn

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Bitter thorn

The young lady I encountered in my drawer appeared and then vanished. In her place a wisp of smoke carries the phosphorus of her frieze. Emigrants exploit the expanses she left behind but the child of our memories brings the tentacles which resemble the six different delights of the young lady who was basically a mother to her child and my mother. Sometimes I live inside the drawer. But every time when some event is not given any name other than that of a cloak underneath which the foundations of a tragic curtain are being undermined I take her last handkerchief and I beg my toad to destroy all wailing which could possibly exist
_____in the chairs and on the curtains.

Poems by Andreas Embeirikos
Translated by N.N. Trakakis

The poems translated here are by the renowned modern Greek writer Andreas Embeirikos (1901-1975), and they appear here in English translation for the first time.
These seven poems are taken from Embeirikos’ first, and highly surrealist, collection of poems, entitled ‘Blast Furnace’, published in 1935. The work is prefaced by a passage from André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto: “…the surrealist voice, the one that continues to preach at the approach of death and above storms…”. It is not difficult to see, from the selection that follows, why this collection was received with uncomprehending glares by a Greek readership that was, at the time, unaccustomed to this style of writing.
I am grateful to Agra Publications and to the Embeirikos estate for permission to translate and publish these poems.